September 11: A Day of Remembrance
On a sunny, Tuesday morning eighteen years ago, our great nation came under attack. On September 11, 2001, I was at the Pentagon meeting with then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. When the second plane hit the twin towers in New York, we were forced to evacuate. As I drove back to the Capitol from the Pentagon across the 14th Street Bridge, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon killing all 53 passengers and 6 crew members onboard, as well as 125 individuals inside the Pentagon. Watching a huge smoke plume rise from the Pentagon is a sight I will never forget.
Today, we remember all those who lost their lives in the devastating terrorist attacks carried out in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on 9-11. The memory of that horrific day is seared into our memories forever.
While the threats have only increased over the last eighteen years, we continue to do everything we can to make sure we prevent the deaths of more innocent Americans and make sure our military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies have the resources they need to combat both global, as well as home-grown domestic terrorism. We must continue to show our strength of character and resolve as we fight terrorism both here at home and abroad.
Today is a time for reflection and remembrance. It is not only a time to honor those who lost their lives eighteen years ago, and to honor the first responders who have died in the years since the attacks due to exposure to dust and toxic chemicals at Ground Zero, today is also a chance to pay tribute to the law enforcement officials, service members, and everyday civilians who continue to protect all of us at home and abroad. Please join me in saying “thank you” to everyone in our nation who fights to keep us safe and free.